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From: herman (
Subject:         My Experience & Why I Follow A VLF Pgm Strictly
Date: December 20, 2008 at 11:44 am PST

Hi Everyone,

In reading some recent posts, there seems to be some newbies who have question about the approach to follow for VLF Diets. I feel it is important for those to hear some personal experiences on how we came to this and our experience in maintaining the program. I'll kick this off and I encourage others as well to contribute there experience. It would be great to hear these stories.

I have been pretty successful on following the VLF lifestyle for 5.5 years now. After losing 125 lbs and bringing my total cholesterol to 133 (w/o satins) I am amazed as anyone how easy it is to maintain this lifestyle.

Even though I don't have heart issues (dad however had triple bypass in his sixties) I know after a lifelong battle of weight control, diets and large weight swings that I would at some point face these issues.

Beginning 16 years ago I embraced VLF weight programs and was successful in losing some 60 pounds. The problem for me was that I wasn't strict enough. The first book I used was by Dr Gabe Mirkin (Fat Free Flavorful), which I still use today for some recipes. Dr Mirkin is a big proponent of healthy VLF programs, however the book allowed for low fat fish and every two weeks a meal with fat based foods. Needless to say after awhile the interval between the fat based meals became far shorter and got back to my unhealthy ways and rapid weight gain.

About 10 years ago I read Dr Ornish (Eat More Weigh Less) and was successful once again. Incorporating Mirkins and his recipes, I lost 80 lbs and was doing well. Unfortunately one thing Ornish allowed was a teaspoon of ice cream or a tiny piece of chocolate occasionally. Based on my prior history, this to was enough to put me over and after awhile the portions of sweets became bigger and soon I was back to full weight gain and then some.

Having turned 49 5.5 years ago and weighing 325 lbs, I just knew my dietary lifestyle had to stop. Fortunately I found Dr Neal Barnard's Book (Turning Off The Fat Gene) which absolutely resonated, particularly his section on food cravings. This hit me in head like a sledge hammer. For me this explained why when certain foods were a part of my diet (meat, fried foods, sweets and chips) my brain would become stimulated which caused an unending craving cycle.

So with this new knowledge, I embarked on my weight loss program once again and started again on VLF diet using Mikin/Ornish less the small amount of chocolate and the every two week non allowed food meal. The weight came off and was feeling great. At this point came across Dr Essestyn's website (Heart Attack Proof, book wasn't written at that point) and his research and video presentation absolutely took hold of me. In particular his missive "moderation kills" just made so much sense when coupling that with Dr Barnards book, for me.

Further, finding Dr Pickney group over the years has proved to be a valuable resource and place for tremendous support. Dr Pickney truly is a very special person and generous with his time and attention.

What isn't discussed that much is about cravings and how that promotes weight gain. The essential component to VLF diets I feel for some is strict adherence without deviation which can kick in craving cycles. Echoing Dr E, Moderation Does Kill and having followed his approach over these years proves it for me.

I can say honestly in all these years I have never deviated from the lifestyle or cheated or have the need to, even though I am surrounded by meat, fish and snacks in my household which are used by my wife and son.. For me this is absolutely amazing.

My diet is quite simple: unlimited veggies and fruit, whole grains and beans. Every lunch and breakfast meal always has some legume. Breakfast is always steel cut oats with grains, cinnamon and apples. Also I drink 1 quart of water at every meal and do not use any other beverage. I don't use soy products or non stick sprays. Sounds strict or limiting? I have found just the opposite! Always feel satisfied and full.

It sounds extreme I know, but I am living proof that strict adherence does work. I hope this post helps those struggling or debating to go forward with the VLF lifestyle. Although didn't suffer from heart disease as many here have, I feel my VLF lifestyle has been key in preventing its onset based on my family history and previous years of obesity.

Happy Holidays to All,



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